MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: Terra Incognita Watch Preview MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: Terra Incognita Home Page

The Filmmaker

Maria Finitzo

From Director/Producer Maria Finitzo:

The first time I read about Dr. Jack Kessler and his decision to change the course of his research to seek a cure for spinal cord injury using embryonic stem cells, following his daughter’s skiing accident, I knew I had found the story I was searching for. Their story was incredibly powerful on so many levels—I hoped that once my viewers were invested in their lives, I would be able to lead them to a greater understanding of the political, religious, ethical and scientific issues surrounding this promising but controversial science.

Her advice for aspiring filmmakers:

Be really passionate about what you are trying to make a film about. You will be living with the idea for years.

Her most inspirational food for making independent film:

Other independent films; I’m always really inspired when I watch other people’s work.

Maria Finitzo

Maria Finitzo has been an award-winning filmmaker for 25 years. She has directed and produced projects for network television, public broadcasting and the cable market. Her work as a filmmaker has taken her from the Galapagos Islands to Russia and has involved subjects ranging from the command and control of nuclear weapons to the psychology of adolescent girls. She produced and directed No Direction Home, a short film produced in conjunction with Public Policy Productions, about young people aging out of foster care. Her most well known film, 5 GIRLS, is a feature-length documentary that delves into the hearts and minds of five remarkable young women. The film was a special presentation of P.O.V. and premiered on national public television in the fall of 2001.

A long-time associate of the documentary company Kartemquin Films, Finitzo has also been a producer and writer for the PBS science series The New Explorers. Under the banner of her own production company, she produced and directed a variety of educational and broadcast programs including Whales, an episode of the National Audubon Society’s Audubon’s Animal Adventures, a children’s nature series for the Disney Channel. Finitzo also directed and produced a two-part special, On the Brink… Doomsday, for the Learning Channel and Towers Productions. She is currently pursuing her MFA at Northwestern University and developing her next project.

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